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Continuity, change and possibility in older age: identity and ageing-as-discovery


Cook, PS, Continuity, change and possibility in older age: identity and ageing-as-discovery, Journal of Sociology, 54, (2) pp. 178-190. ISSN 1440-7833 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Author

DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783318766147


Traditionally, sociology has framed older age as a time of disengagement, withdrawal and reduced social integration. While now largely dismissed in contemporary sociological understandings of ageing, narratives of decline still feature heavily across social, media, and medical discourses. This negativity towards ageing could be at odds with how older people experience their age and identity. In this article, I will explore how 16 older people construct their self-identity. Drawing on participant-generated imagery and interview data, this article exposes that they experience older age as a time of continuity, discovery, possibility and change, where identity is multiple and fluid, and emerges through the links they make between the past, present and future. Thus, while ageing is not without its difficulties, the research participants challenge the social myths that reductively and negatively frame older age by constructing an identity that builds on their past through an active exploration of new possibilities and experiences.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ageing, older age, identity, third age, phenomenology, narrative analysis, photography, visual methods, active ageing, successful ageing, positive ageing, ageing and wellbeing
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social change
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Cook, PS (Dr Peta Cook)
ID Code:125268
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-04-11
Last Modified:2018-12-03

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